London: Amid efforts to curb immigration
to the UK, the government on Tuesday proposed tougher entrance
criteria and limits on work among some of the key changes as
part of a shake-up of the student visa system that is likely
to adversely impact Indians seeking to move to Britain.
Launching a public consultation on the reform of the
student entry route to the UK of the Points Based system, the
British Home Office also revealed that 41 per cent of students
coming through this route were studying below degree level
"I believe attracting talented students from abroad is
vital to the UK but we must be more selective about who can
come here and how long they can stay," Immigration Minister
Damian Green said today.
"People imagine students to be those who come here
for a few years to study at university and then go home - that
is not always the case. Too many students coming to study at
below degree level have been coming here to live and work,
rather than studying," he said, adding "We need to stop this
Under the new regime, the Labour-Liberal Democrat
coalition has introduced an annual limit of 21,700 for those
coming into the UK under the skilled and highly skilled routes
- 20,700 under the skilled route and 1,000 under the new
`exceptional talent` route.
The curbs, which now comes into force, seeks to ensure
that visas are issued to only those wanting to study for a
degree and eliminating bogus students.
Green said proposals follow a major review of the
system, "and are aimed at a more selective system and,
crucially, reducing the numbers to meet our target of reducing
net migration to sustainable levels."
The consultation will run for eight weeks, seeking
views on a range of measures to reduce the number of students
that can come into the UK.
Proposals include reducing the number of people coming
to the UK to study at below degree level; introducing a
tougher English language requirement; Ensuring students
wishing to extend their studies show evidence of academic
progression; limiting students` entitlement to work and their
ability to bring in dependants; and improving the
accreditation process for education providers, alongside more
The government has committed to making changes across
the immigration system to achieve its overall aim of reducing
net migration, in addition to the introduction of an annual
limit on workers from outside the EU.
The student route accounts for two thirds of migrants
entering the UK each year which is why it is a key focus for
"This Government wants high calibre students with the
genuine desire to study to come to our country for temporary
periods, and then return home. We want to hear views of our
proposals from a wide range of people so that our reforms meet
this objective," Green said.